September 23, 2004
When the owner of three of the East Valley’s most successful bars tells you he’s opening the new Bada Boom Pasta Room today for "the love of it" — and not for more cash — it’s a struggle to keep a straight face.
It’s not that Brian Roehrich is flashy (he’s sporting jeans, a white T-shirt and a pair of Diesels he calls slippers) or that he gives off an I’m-better-than-you vibe (he’s hauling manure to Bada Boom’s outdoor flowerpots).
It’s just tough not to see dollar signs in his 35-year-old eyes when he tells you he has doubled sales each year since he opened Scottsdale Dos Gringos in 1996 or when he says his Dos Gringos Trailer Park in Tempe is No. 1 in the country for Corona sales.
Then you hear how it all started, and the whole "love" thing makes a little more sense.
"I took a mortgage on my house, took a loan against my car, I took all the money I had, put it all out there," Roehrich explains when asked how he managed to go from being an architecture graduate to a bar owner. "I had four credit cards, I maxed out three of the credit cards. We opened up on a Thursday, on Friday I went to the bank and maxed out the last credit card. So I had absolutely nothing."
Wait, it gets better.
"You’re working off six hours — sometimes two hours — of sleep. When I opened up Dos Gringos, I used to sleep on the floor. . . . I’d literally close the bar and get out of there whenever, 3:30 or 4, have to be back there at 8 o’clock in the morning. So, I’d sleep in the bar and then once the morning staff got there, then I would go home, shower up, clean up and come back for that day. You’re just exhausted, falling down."
In 2002, Roehrich put himself through that 90-hourworkweek beating again when he opened Sugar Daddy’s in Scottsdale, and has done it once more with the opening of his first restaurant, Bada Boom, in the former Sugo pasta spot on the southeast corner of Marshall Way and Third Avenue in Scottsdale.
"I’ve been here (Bada Boom) alone for the last three or four weeks, getting here at 8:30 in the morning and leaving here at midnight or two in the morning," Roehrich says.
Although he doesn’t have to take a mortgage out on his home for his newest venture, money problems still arise.
"I budgeted $60,000 for a remodel here, it’s $350,000," he says. "Once I got in here and saw the potential and saw what it could be and saw this corner and really started going I said, ‘. . . Let’s do this up.’ "
And do it up he did.
Roehrich started outside by transforming a large, empty corner of sidewalk into a European bistro with the addition of 45 tables for two. He placed back-lit artwork reproductions from nearby galleries in the ceiling of the breezeway that leads to the woodshutter-enclosed back patio, where a giant crystal chandelier sparkles.
Inside, shades of Sedona and mahogany dominate, tables are covered in white linens and walls and seat cushions are covered in crushed red velvet.
Black-and-white photos of local Italian club members posing mobster-style at Roehrich-owned bars tie him to his other businesses. The fun-loving group of Italian men will stop by the new restaurant about once a month, decked out in zoot suits, to put the Bada Boom in Roehrich’s new pasta room.
The majority of the entrees are less than $10, including Italian sandwiches, pastas and pizzas.
"We’re making our own mozzarella, we’re getting our tomatoes imported from Italy. We’ve got 15 different wines by the glass and we’ve handpicked all of them. We tasted about 500 different wines," says Roehrich, who is using various purveyors for his breads and says everything is coming in fresh.
"I’m trying to create fun. I’m trying to create a fine dining atmosphere with fine dining food without the fine dining price tag or the snooty servers," Roehrich says.
When things settle down at Bada Boom and Roehrich has some free time on his hands, guess what he plans to do with it?
"Open up another bar," he says with a smile.
Dos Gringos, 4209 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale, (480) 423-3800 Dos Gringos Trailer Park, 1001 E. Eighth St., Tempe, (480) 968-7879 Sugar Daddy’s, 3102 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, (480) 970-6556
Menu at a glance
Mozzarella alla caprese ($9) Chopped Italian salad ($7) Pancetta shrimp diavolo ($12) Fettucine carbonara ($8) Chocolate tiramisu ($7)